Today I’ll be participating again in First Chapter First Paragraph, hosted by Diane, at Bibliophile by the Sea. 

I’ll also be spotlighting the excerpt in Teaser Tuesdays, at Should Be Reading.

From Lots of Candles, Plenty of Cake, by Anna Quindlen. (An ARC, so the language may change in the final edition).

From Anna Quindlen, #1 New York Times bestselling author and winner of the Pulitzer Prize, comes this irresistible memoir about her life and the lives of women today. Candid, funny, moving, Lots of Candles, Plenty of Cake is filled with the sharp insights and revealing observations that have long confirmed Quindlen’s status as America’s laureate of real life.
As she did in her beloved New York Times columns, and in A Short Guide to a Happy Life, Quindlen says for us here what we may wish we could have said ourselves. Using her past, present, and future to explore what matters most to women at different ages, Quindlen talks about
Marriage: “A safety net of small white lies can be the bedrock of a successful marriage. You wouldn’t believe how cheaply I can do a kitchen renovation.”
Girlfriends: “Real friends offer both hard truths and soft landings and realize that it’s sometimes more important to be nice than to be honest.”
Our bodies: “I’ve finally recognized my body for what it is, a personality-delivery system, designed expressly to carry my character from place to place, now and in the years to come. It’s like a car, and while I like a red convertible or even a Bentley as well as the next person, what I really need are four tires and an engine.”
Parenting: “Being a parent is not transactional. We do not get what we give. It is the ultimate pay-it-forward: We are good parents, not so they will be loving enough to stay with us, but so they will be strong enough to leave us.”


First Chapter/First Paragraph:

Life in the Fifties:

It’s odd when I think of the arc of my life, from child to young woman to aging adult.  First I was who I was.  Then I didn’t know who I was.  Then I invented someone and became her.  Then I began to like what I’d invented.  And finally I was what I was again.

It turned out I wasn’t alone in that particular progression.

I began to discover that twenty-five years ago, when I created a column about my own life for The New York Times called “Life in the 30’s.”  The thirty-four-year-old mother of two little boys, I was shaky and unsure, wondering whether their stories of sibling rivalry and toilet training, my stories of household juggling and family accommodations, would have any resonance outside the walls of our home.

I got the answer to that question soon enough….


What do you think?  Does it pique your curiosity?  Make you want to read more?  Come on by and share your thoughts and links.


  1. Diane D

    Laurel, I can so relate to all of this, especially what she said about “our bodies”. She and I are the same age. I can’t wait to read this one. Great intro as well.


  2. I’ve enjoyed many of Anna Quindlen’s novels and I’m thrilled that she’s written a memoir. this sounds captivating. I enjoy the way she writes, having read several of her columns and appreciate how candid she is.

    I hope you enjoy this memoir, Laurel and I look forward to your thoughts about it.


  3. Interesting, I’d probably be able to soon relate to her since I will have small kids and going through that kind of life in my 30’s! Thanks for stopping by 🙂


  4. This does seem like a sort of universal story – and from reading Quindlen before, I know that she speaks from (and to) the heart. Great teaser!

    Thanks for visiting my blog today!


  5. I LOVE the quote about “our bodies.” This sounds like a book I’d really enjoy.
    Thank you for posting a comment on my blog. It’s been a busy day today, and I’m just catching up with Teaser Tuesday comments.


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